At least once a year, we recommend that your horse have its teeth checked for any problems. If needed, your horse will be sedated and while standing, any sharp points or edges will
be smoothed/corrected using a dental float.
When performing a float or examining the mouth for a suspected problem, a thorough oral examination is completed. In order to perform a complete oral exam, the horse must be sedated and a speculum placed in their mouth. Types of dental abnormalities include sharp enamel points, incisors, hooks, ramps, fractures, and an elongated space between two teeth (diastema).
At least once a year, the average horse will need its teeth floated. Horses’ teeth erupt continuously through their lives and their upper jaws are wider than their lower jaw. This results in sharp enamel points on the outside (near the cheek) of their upper teeth and the inside (near the tongue) of their lower teeth. Horses’ upper jaws also sit slightly more forward that their lower jaw creating hooks on the upper, front cheek teeth and ramps on the back, lower cheek teeth. All of these points, hooks, and ramps can cause discomfort in a horse’s mouth and may interfere with the bit and their performance.
Our veterinarians will use a combination of hand and power floats; combining the power and efficiency of a power float with the finesse of hand floating. We will work with you to determine what works best for each individual horse.
Sometimes more advanced oral issues are found during the exam (fractured teeth, wave mouth, shear mouth, or large steps). Depending on severity, these problems can be corrected or managed on a regular basis to ensure the best possible oral health for the life of the horse.
Wolf teeth are the first premolars, and if present, sit right in front of the first molars. Not all horses will have wolf teeth but if they do, these teeth come in at around 5-6 months of age. Wolf teeth are sharp, small teeth that are not used for eating/chewing and should be removed before you put a bit in the horse’s mouth.
When a bit is placed in the horse’s mouth, the gums can be caught between the bit and the first cheek teeth. This can cause pain and performance issues. By rounding the edges of the first cheek teeth, we can reduce the chance of this happening. This is called “placing a bit seat.”